It's almost the middle of the summer, and somehow I've transitioned from my tranquil Miami life to a comically hectic Boston routine (save the countless bruises and scratches from bike snafus with curbs, poles, and any other collision that causes public embarrassment). Sitting in my apartment after work and nomming on the abundance of fruit I bought before it goes bad, has me reminiscing about all of the Miami meals that were just a drive away from the house. Miami has a knack for keeping things colorful, fresh, and fusion-y, and the food is no exception. Though I've grown up going to the same few restaurants (shoutout to Roaster's and Toaster's), I've also been in the city long enough to find new sweet spots that are hailing modern cuisine. So, in an attempt to cure my nostalgia and simultaneously make myself ravenously hungry for dinner, here are some of my favorite bites - and if you ever find yourself in Miami, do yourself a favor and check these out (on your way to or from the beach of course).
I figure I'll start off with just a snacking tip that I've discovered over my years living by the pool and frequenting the beach. Yes, I love piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, but let's skip out on the rain and add some cheesy fries instead, for any and all of your aquatic adventures. I understand this might be a ridiculous combination, but if you know me at all, you are well aware of my love for potatoes, cheese, and frothy beverages. So, while this might not be your favorite meal of this post, it might actually be mine. Serving size: yours and the seagulls'.
In a luscious sector of Miami, a few of my favorite restaurants have sprouted and blossomed. I'm talking about three places in particular, all located in Coconut Grove. First, let's talk Greenstreet Cafe. I've probably been eating here since before I could hold a fork, so I've definitely got my go to meal locked and loaded. It consists of their fluffy red velvet pancakes (yes, for breakfast not dessert) and some eggs bathed in cheddar and sprinkled with the most melt-in-your-mouth potatoes in the city. I kid you not, I have often ordered sides on sides of these potatoes, and even have a polaroid photo of them hanging in my dorm room. Serving size: share if you can, except with your one friend who is allergic to red food coloring of course - in that case, just save it all for yourself ;)
Lokal but not low cal
This second Grove treasure, Lokal, is actually a recent addition for me. I have been hearing about a "heart attack" burger from several people, and have had it described as a burger bunned between two glazed donuts! Yes, please! (I hope you start realizing I'm not the Kale-iest of eaters). But, upon dragging a bunch of friends to dine with me and be witnesses should I actually require medical assistance from this heart exploding dish, I was even more impressed with the actual fare. This "Childhood Dream" burger also came with the crispiest, candied bacon. And, let me tell you, it definitely lived up to the hype. Serving size: a guilty pleasure for one, but not for the faint of heart.
Sweet, Bianco Gelato
After that heart attack burger, what's better than washing it down with some creamy, organic gelato? Cue Bianco Gelato in the Grove. It's a quaint little gelato shop with the funkiest of feel-good flavors. My friend's friend actually used to own it (that whole five degrees of separation theory? Definitely a thing in Miami). This time I got a flavor that I could barely pronounce, so my recommendation would be to find the longest name on the menu and order two scoops. Serving size: you could be flirty for two or intelligently selfish for you and you alone.
Zak the (Bae)ker
From Coconut Grove let's travel to Wynwood - one of the city's most "happening" places in art, tech, and grub. While it would take me an entire other post to taste all of Wynwood's offerings, I'm just going to talk about my "must-go-snack-here-whenever-i-visit-Miami" spots. Zak the Baker is a kosher bakery with the most rich, crumbly, and flavorful pastries/dishes. Their menu changes daily, if I recall correctly, so each visit is a surprise - each treat equally as tasty so don't worry! I always opt for a sweet snack (think cashew butter and cinnamon, freshly made jam, or strawberries and cream) on one of Zak's hand-made breads. Peep a quiche in one of these photos too - if my friend Leila hadn't completely devoured it, I would've loved to have tried it and give it my stamp of approval. They also sell these incredible chocolate cookies baked with sea salt, check 'em out! And don't forget to rinse your palette with some of their fresh juice! Serving size: you think you're going to share but it becomes evident you won't.
The Salty, and super long line, Donut
The Salty Donut is one of those hip and trendy pop up food trucks. It has been recently gaining stead, so my rumbling stomach prompted the trip to try it for myself. I actually went on National Donut Day (only to sadly turn around after a 35 min drive because they sold out early) and again the next day (only to wait in a 45 min line in the scorching Miami heat). But, when I tell you they had a Bacon donut, "spiked" donut holes, and even a gluten-free chocolate option, you'd opt for the farmer's tan-inducing wait as well. Serving size: you'll order one of each and tell your mom you'll share, but she doesn't believe you, so she gets her own box.
Jugofresh for some fresh jugo
Jugofresh, though not exclusively a Wynwood gem, is a Miamian's go to for a healthy but happy and refreshing snack. I used to order their smoothies, but once I hopped on the açai bowl train, try to pry me off. I am very much a creature of habit (hence often times ordering the same dish at the same restaurant for 19 years), so the only bowl I order is dubbed the Sunset Harbor Açai bowl. Insider tip: ask for extra brazil nut crumble. And, while I'm disheartened that they've closed almost all of their shops in order to become a sector of the Whole Foods chain (find them in the old juice section, RIP) I will travel to wherever they go in order to get my fresh fix. Serving size: the bowls are huge so unless you haven't eaten all day, you'll probably need to freeze it and nom on it later.
Threefold, THE brunch & chat hub
I discovered Threefold Cafe at the end of last summer, so I could only dine there once - but I have continued to dream of its dishes. I went back to Threefold for another round of their delicate, vanilla waffles over winter break, and perfectly coupled this meal with a side of "eggies" and much needed gossip. This summer, I think I went to Threefold every week I was home, and surprisingly found a new favorite: they call it the "Not So French Toast." This name aptly describes the soft bread bathed in eggs and sandwiched over prosciutto and ricotta, with bacon crumbles dusted on top. Ask for some bourbon syrup and happily eat your way into a food coma. I also tried their tower of guava pancakes and was both overwhelmed by the size of the stack and by the flavor birthed at each bite. Serving size: depending on how much gossip you have to catch up on, your food will get cold if you're talking and don't share.
Knaus your ordinary Berry
Knausberry Farms, while not even technically in Miami (because of the hefty drive down south), nor a spot I travelled to this summer, is home to fond memories for almost all Miami natives. I'm including it in this post as a place to look forward to when I come home in the winter, for it will finally be strawberry season! (Read with giddy excitement). During strawberry season, Knausberry opens up its fields for the pickings. So bust out your cutest overalls, drive top down with all of your friends, and reward yourself with their legendary cinnamon rolls and strawberry shakes. Serving size: for once, the more the merrier, and I mean it!
Now that I've worked up quite the drool over all of these truly mod Miami meals, I should probably go make dinner and satisfy my hunger. If you found yourself salivating at these photos as much as I did, do us both a favor and go snack at some of these spots when you visit Miami. Or, better yet, just go to Miami for these foods.